Another by-election may be on the cards as the Commons standards committee recommend a 35-day suspension for a suspended Tory MP.
Scott Benton, who represents Blackpool South, has been suspended from the parliamentary Tory party since April after an investigation revealed he would be willing to break lobbying rules for money.
He met with newspaper reporters posing as gambling industry offenders and was caught offering to lobby ministers and table parliamentary questions.
Should a suspension of at least 10 days be passed in the House of Commons, a recall petition will be triggered, giving his constituents the chance to vote for a by-election.
Benton has represented his constituency since 2019 and holds a majority of 3,690, a fraction of the five-figure majorities that both Labour and the Lib Dems have overturned this year.
The report from the committee said Benton had given the message "he was corrupt and 'for sale'", adding that he "communicated a toxic message about standards in Parliament".
Mr Benton had argued that he had not agreed to undertake activity that would breach rules.
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Aberdeen City Council
Today’s business includes:
- Pensions Committee and Pension Board
- NEW: Consultation: Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) proposed amendments. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are seeking views on the proposed amendments to the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) regulations which set out exceptions to VAT compliance obligations to ensure that Gross Payment Status is not refused or removed for minor errors, and exempt certain payments from landlords to tenants from the scope of the CIS. For more information, or to respond to the consultation, please click here. The closing date for responses is 9th January 2024.
- Consultation: New threshold for businesses accessing the Energy Ombudsman. The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero are consulting on a proposal to amend the Gas and Electricity Regulated Providers (Redress Scheme) Order 2008 to expand access to redress against energy suppliers to small businesses without having to involve the courts. For more information, or to respond to the consultation, please click here. The closing date for responses is 31st January 2024.
- Consultation: Draft legislation – Income Tax (Digital Requirements) (Amendment) Regulations 2024. From April 2026, Making Tax Digital (MTD) for Income Tax, will apply to relevant persons (unincorporated businesses and landlords) with business and/or property income over £50,000 followed by those with income over £30,000 from April 2027. The Income Tax (Digital Requirements) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021 No 1076) set out the requirements that relevant persons must comply with under MTD for Income Tax. These include the use of MTD-compatible software to keep and preserve their business records (business income and expenses) digitally, send quarterly updates of their records to HMRC, and submit an end of period statement to HMRC. The draft regulations published here amend the 2021 regulations and reflect recent government decisions, some of which were announced at Autumn Statement 2023. For more information, or to respond to the consultation, please click here. The closing date for responses is 12th January 2024.
- Consultation: Carbon capture and storage (CCS) Network Code: updated Heads of Terms. The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero are seeking views on the CCS Network Code, part of the new regulatory regime describing arrangements between CO2 network users and transport and storage companies. The CCS Network Code will set out the various commercial, operational and technical arrangements that will govern the use of these networks. It will provide the framework for seeking a connection, commissioning, and operating, plus other arrangements including on governance, disputes, data management and liabilities. For more information, or to respond to this consultation, please click here. The closing date for responses is 16th February 2024.
- Consultation: Proposals for a Heat in Buildings Bill. Like many other countries, Scotland has a legal target to reach ‘net zero’ greenhouse gas emissions. The way we heat our homes, workplaces and other buildings is the third-largest cause of greenhouse gas emissions in Scotland. There is no way to meet our legal obligation to reach ‘net zero’ without changing the heating systems in the vast majority of our buildings. The purpose of this consultation is raise awareness of the Scottish Government’s proposal to make new laws around the heating systems that can be used in homes and places of work (which includes: reconfirming that the use of polluting heating systems will be prohibited after 2045; require those purchasing a home or business premises to end their use of polluting heating systems within a fixed period following completion of the sale; introducing a new law that will require homeowners to make sure that their homes meet a reasonable minimum energy efficiency standard by 2033; and require private landlords to meet this minimum energy efficiency standard by 2028) and to invite views of a variety of stakeholders on those proposals. For more information, or to respond to the consultation, please click here. The closing date for responses is 8th March 204.
- Consultation: Introducing a Contracts for Difference (CfD) Sustainable Industry Reward. The government is proposing to introduce a Contract for Difference Sustainable Industry Reward (CfD SIR) from CfD Allocation Round 7 onwards. The CfD Sustainable Industry Reward aims to help accelerate the deployment of low carbon electricity generation, specifically offshore / floating offshore wind, by addressing some of the recent challenges identified by the industry. The Reward could provide greater revenue support to projects that take meaningful action to increase the economic, environmental and social sustainability of offshore and floating offshore wind deployment. It could also work with other government policies aimed at increasing the rate of deployment of offshore and floating offshore wind. For more information, or to respond to the consultation, please click here. The closing date for responses is 11th January 2024.
- Consultation: Hiring agency staff to cover industrial action. The purpose of this consultation is to seek views on whether government should repeal regulation 7 of the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003 (“the Conduct Regulations”) which prevents employment businesses supplying agency workers to cover the duties normally performed by a worker who is taking part in a strike or other industrial action. For more information, or to respond to the consultation, please click here. The closing date for responses is 16th January 2024.
- Consultation: Transmission license exemption for array systems connecting to offshore substations. This consultation seeks views on a proposed exemption from the requirement to hold a transmission licence for array systems connecting an offshore windfarm to an offshore substation. For more information, or to respond to the consultation, please click here. The closing date for responses is 2nd January 2024.
- LAST CHANCE TO RESPOND: Consultation: Education Reform – A Consultation on the provisions of the Education Bill. In March 2022 the Scottish Government announced that the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) would be replaced with a new qualifications body. It also announced its intention to establish a new independent inspectorate whilst also needing to understand how best to align education inspection with the wider inspection system. This consultation seeks views on a range of issues related to these proposals and the role inspection plays in providing assistance and support to educational professionals in Scotland. For more information, or to respond to the consultation, please click here. The closing date for responses is 18th December.
- Consultation: Consultation on analogue community radio licensing. This consultation seeks views on the future approach to the licensing of analogue community radio stations, and the current restrictions on the capacity of stations to raise money through advertising and sponsorship. For more information, or to respond to the consultation, please click here. The closing date for responses is 31st January 2024.
- Consultation: Trade with Turkey. The Department for Business and Trade is seeking input on which aspects of our current trading arrangements with Turkey they should look to improve or amend. For more information, or to respond to the consultation, please click here. The closing date for responses is 5th January 2024.
- Consultation: Democracy Matters. Somebody, somewhere is making decisions on your behalf. Democracy Matters conversations have already started to explore whether far more of these decisions could be made by communities themselves. This is a key and connected part of the wider Local Governance Review which is looking across all of Scotland’s vital public services to consider how power and resources should be shared between national and local government. For more information, or to respond to the consultation, please click here. The closing date for responses is 28th February 2024.
- Consultation: Building standards enforcement and sanctions. In Scotland, a Ministerial Working Group was set up following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in 2017, to review building and fire safety regulatory frameworks. The Group commissioned two reviews of building standards; one to cover compliance and enforcement and the other fire safety. The Review Panel on Building Standards Compliance and Enforcement identified the need for improving aspects of the building standards system (covering procedural compliance, built compliance and enforcement of both procedural matters and non-compliant work). As part of this review, the Scottish Government is now consulting with a view to strengthening several existing provisions. For more information, or to respond to the consultation, please click here. The closing date for responses is 15th January 2024.
- Support: Develop your workforce with Skills for Growth. Skills for Growth is a diagnostic service that helps you identify skills gaps in your business and find ways to fill them. Skills Development Scotland (SDS) will work with you to understand the skills your business needs, help you create a detailed people skills action plan and direct you to the right support. For more information or to apply, please click here.
- Support: Techscaler. Techscaler is a Scottish Government programme that helps people to start and scale tech businesses. Techscaler membership provides tailored support for founders and leaders of tech start-ups. For more information or to apply, please click here.
- Support: DigitalBoost Health Check. Take a Digital Health Check to find out how your business could improve its digital performance. Just answer 12 questions about your current approach to discover where you could do more with technology and how to boost your online presence. For more information, or to do your own check, please click here.
- Support/Training: The Princes Trust Explore Enterprise Course. The Prince’s Trust Explore Enterprise Course consists of up to seven online sessions providing information and support on the basics of self-employment, HMRC and finance, pricing and sales, marketing, networking, cashflows, and business plans. These sessions are open to individuals aged between 18-30, who are resident in Scotland and been trading for less than 2 years. For more information, or to sign up, please click here.
- Support/Funding: Guidance on how to apply for Innovate UK funding opportunities. Innovate UK provides grant funding, loans and procurements for UK-based businesses to support research, development and innovation. This guidance explains what types of funding opportunities are available and how to apply through their Innovation Funding Service. For more information, or to access the guidance, please click here. Details on the various live funding options are available here.
- Support/Funding: UK Tradeshow Programme. The UK Tradeshow Programme offers government support to help UK businesses attend or exhibit at overseas trade shows more effectively. For more information, or to apply, please click here.
- Funding: Low Emission Zone Support Fund for Businesses. Eligible Scottish micro businesses and sole traders can apply for a £2,000 grant when they dispose of a vehicle that is not compliant with the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) standards in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee. For more information or to apply, please click here. The closing date for applications is 31st March 2024.
- Funding: Scottish Co-Investment Fund. The Scottish Co-investment Fund (SCF) is designed to address a finance gap (up to £1.5million) alongside Scottish Enterprise's accredited co-investment partners. This fund is designed for Scottish start-up, early-stage or growing companies seeking investment to develop products and/or markets. For more information, or to apply, please click here.
- Funding: Innovation Funding Service. Innovate UK supports UK-based businesses to invest in research, development and innovation through grant funding, loans or procurements. A variety of innovation competitions are currently open, with the full list and details of eligibility available here.
- Funding: Foresight Scottish Growth Fund. The Scottish Growth Scheme is a package of financial support of up to £500 million for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Scotland. Backed by the Scottish Government, it aims to help businesses grow. This equity funding can be used for a variety of purposes, including working capital, capital expenditure and growth funding. For more information or to apply, please click here.
- Funding: SME Loan Scheme. This loan is for small to medium-sized businesses in Scotland and can be used for the installation of energy-efficient measures such as lighting and heating upgrades, double glazing, insulation and more. For more information or to apply, please click here.
- Funding: UMi Debt Finance Scotland. This funding is managed by UMi Debt Finance Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government and provides loans of £25,000 to £250,000 to eligible small and medium enterprises to help them grow. Loans can be used for a variety of purposes including working capital, capital expenditure and growth funding. For more information or to apply, please click here.
- Funding: District Heating Loan Fund. The District Heating Loan Fund is managed by the Energy Saving Trust on behalf of the Scottish Government. It provides capital loan funding of more than £1 million to organisations in Scotland that use renewables technologies to build out heat networks. For more information, or to apply, please click here.
- Funding: Heat Network Fund. This Scottish Government fund encourages commercial interest and investment that will help make the most of Scotland's vast potential in the low carbon sector and contribute to the positive progress already made in reducing Scotland's greenhouse gas emissions. Eligible projects must be large-scale and based in Scotland. As well as helping reduce emissions, successful projects should also have positive social and economic benefits for Scotland. For more information or to apply, please click here.
- Funding: Workforce Innovation Voucher. The Workforce Innovation Voucher scheme can be used to support innovation to develop a company’s workforce in partnership with a college or university – for example, a new or enhanced workplace business processes, workplace practice or innovative business expertise. Interface provides support with finding a suitable academic partner who has the right specialist expertise to progress your Research and Development project. For more information, or to apply, please click here.
- Funding: National Lottery Open Fund of Organisations – Creative Scotland. The National Lottery Open Fund for Organisations is a funding programme for artistic, creative and cultural organisations based in Scotland. Organisations can apply for between £1,000 and £100,000 to support creative activity that lasts up to 18 months. For more information, or to apply, please click here.
- Funding: Green Heat Innovation Support Programme. The Green Heat Innovation Support Programme provides grant funding, competitive procurement and other forms of support to help Scottish-based companies or companies looking to invest in Scotland develop innovative products, services or business models that address the challenges of green heating. For more information, or to apply, please click here.